Steak ‘n Shake has been hit hard, with a federal court ordering the food chain to pay almost $3 million in damages to two former managers.
Steak ‘n Shake Managers Allege Unpaid Overtime & Discrimination
In 2014, two former managers for the food chain Steak ‘n Shake filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that they were illegally denied overtime pay. Specifically, they both stated that as managers, they were misclassified by an Indiana based restaurant and told that they were exempt for overtime pay.
One plaintiff worked as a manager from 2006 – 2013, while the other was employed from 2011 – 2012. Both regularly worked more than 40 hours a week during their employment. According to their complaint, this failure to pay overtime violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Did Gender-Based Wage Discrimination Occur?
In addition to the allegations that overtime pay is owed, the plaintiffs also alleged that female managers, even those who had worked at the company for years, were always paid less than male managers, simply because of their sex. They claimed that this violated the Equal Pay Act.
Jury Awards $3 Million To Former Steak ‘n Shake Managers
The case went to trial and after hearing arguments from both sides, a jury awarded the plaintiffs just under $3 million dollars. U.S. District Judge John Ross affirmed the jury’s verdict shortly after.
With this victory established, it is likely only a matter of time before other employees will step forward to fight for the compensation they are owed.
Overtime Lawsuits Are Frequently Filed Across The U.S.
Sadly, this isn’t the first or last time that employees will need to fight for what they are owned. Throughout the country, employers frequently use various tactics, such as misclassifying an employee’s position, to avoid paying overtime.
Just recently, a lawsuit was filed against CareCentrix, a healthcare management services company, alleging that more than 200 employees are owed unpaid overtime. The legal complaint was filed by a former verification specialist who alleged that she had worked between 10 – 14 hours extra each week without pay.
She claims that both she and her coworkers had to work prior to clocking in, during lunches, and after clocking out in order to maintain their workloads. She further alleged that she did not have the option of refusing to work off the clock, otherwise, she would have lost her job.
The lawsuit is hoping to achieve collective certification which means that all individuals who worked as verification specialists between February 6th, 2016 to February 2019 could opt to join the lawsuit. Once established, her legal team will fight for class certification, in which any qualified individuals would automatically be included in the legal fight.
New Rule May Update Overtime Laws
On March 7th, 2019, a new rule was proposed which would qualify nearly a million more Amerian for overtime pay.
According to the current law, salaried employees who make below $455 week must be paid overtime if they exceed 40 hours in a week. If implemented, the update would require overtime pay to be provided to all salaried employees who make $679 a week.
Should I Quit My Job Before Filling A Wage Violation Lawsuit?
The answer to this question is a very personal one and a decision that can only be made by you and your loved ones. What we can tell you is that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects employees from retaliation for filing a report. This means that if you report your employer for failing to pay overtime properly, they cannot discriminate against you or fire you for reporting them.
However, that doesn’t mean that your employer won’t find another way to terminate your job.
Is My Wage Violation Case Worth Millions?
Our legal team cannot give you an estimate as to what your case might be worth without reviewing the facts. The reality is that the outcome for all plaintiffs can be vastly different and is based on the actual losses that have been sustained.
Any compensation that you recover through a wage violation lawsuit is intended to cover the unpaid overtime you are owed, as well as any other losses that you may have sustained as a result.
Why Should I Speak With A Wage Advocates Attorney?
Our lawyers choose to work with employees who have suffered because of a wage violation because we believe that failing to pay overtime that is owed is theft. Not only is it theft, but employers who do this are committing a federal crime.
You can learn more about our legal team and about some of our notable cases here.